Saturday, October 22, 2005

Get your Mail!

Over the past three weeks there have been some mysterious changes taking place around Birmingham. The old blue cabins with elderly gentlemen in them shouting "Get your Mail!" have disappeared and been replaced with continental-style tables with umbrellas above them and a more cosmopolitan sales-force. The historic Birmingham Evening Mail is no longer; we welcome a publication called simply "the Mail".

Of course, the reason for this change is declining sales. To its readers, this is not a surprise as the publication has declined in quality ever since being taken over by the Trinity Mirror group. The People's Republic does not want to slag off the publishers of the Mirror, being as it is one of the few national papers to be printed in the region, but the fact is that a previously decent local paper went to the dogs as it adopted tabloid-style reporting.

A fine example of this was how they "reported" the news that a consultant at City Hospital, Mr Stanley Silverman, had left a patient in theatre to help relieve the pressures on the A&E department while it was trying to hit the government target of treating 90% of its patients within 4 hours. They presented it as if they had got an exclusive interview with the consultant himself whereas in reality they had taken the quotes from the minutes of the Trust board meeting. Sh*t stirring, as we call it in Birmingham became the norm, so much so that it drowned out the decent community news that quickly became the domain of the free newspapers.

So apparently the solution is to re-launch the paper as a snazzy read with a new editor and a new reporters. The problem is it looks like something produced by a local sixth-form. The Evening Mail used to stand alongside other local publications such as the London Evening Standard, the Manchester Evening News and the Liverpool Echo. By renaming it "the Mail", Birmingham has lost part of it's history.

So sack the staff, yes. But bring back our (Evening) Mail.

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